Preparing your organization for the era of AI requires anticipating and preparing for the wide-ranging disruptions it is likely to unleash. So far, businesses are mostly thinking incrementally: “How could GenAI make existing processes more efficient?” rather than “How could AI transform business functions and business models from the ground up?” According to EY research, 91% of organizations are using AI primarily to optimize operations, develop self-service tools like chatbots, or automate processes; only 8% are driving innovation, such as new or improved offerings.
Where to act now
In the near term, continue applying GenAI to specific use cases with the goal of improving efficiency and productivity. Prioritize use cases using a couple of criteria.
First, focus on the greatest value creation opportunities by assessing how AI can drive impact to the bottom line of the organization. Use all tools available, such as the EY.ai Value Accelerator, to help identify and implement AI initiatives and solutions based on their contribution to metrics such as revenue, cost and EBITDA.
As EY teams have seen in recent months while helping several clients assess and/or implement such opportunities, value acceleration can be found in actions such as using generative content and automated workflows to boost the conversion rate of sales representatives (in this case, at a business information services company — a $100 million opportunity) to automating processes across engineering, customer services, knowledge management and other functions (at a telecommunications and media conglomerate — a $1-1.5 billion opportunity).
Second, in this early and evolving risk environment, focus on lower-risk use cases. For instance, some internal functions are lower risk than many public-facing ones that could invite consumer backlash and brand damage.
At the same time, move beyond use cases by laying the groundwork for a long-term vision and direction. If taking on the entire business model proves too challenging, given the uncertainties about AI’s evolution, consider instead edging toward the business model from both ends: a bottom-up and top-down approach.